A/N: Hello lovelies! Here's a story that I really enjoyed writing, Let me know what you think as I am considering submitting it to a literary magazine.
"Six Minutes, 18 Seconds"
He held her hand for a second longer before placing it back on the sheets. As soon as he was sure he hadn't disturbed her he stopped, looked at her sleeping face, and grinned. Mission complete. He leaned back on the balls of his feet, taking in the view of this young woman like he did any time he woke up before her. She was relaxed when she was asleep, cuddled into the warmth of their bed.
Silently slipping into the kitchen, the smile on his face only grew as he waited for the sounds of her waking up. He was making her mini strawberry waffles because they were her favorite and she deserved them this morning. It was difficult to focus on the tasks in front of him, but the aroma of strawberries helped to calm his twitchy nerves. He began plating the final products and started working on the drinks, eyeing the clock on the stove and anticipating her alarm.
He brought the breakfast trays into their room and set them on the dresser while he got the stands ready. Her alarm sounded for half of a cycle before it was cut off, and he smiled.
"Good morning, love," he said with only a short glance behind his shoulder. Her face was still half shoved into the pillow.
"My lovely," she responded because it was too soon for her to say "good morning" back. His heart thrummed so strongly that he could feel it without placing his hands on his body.
"Did you bring food in here?" He turned to place the stand in front of her as she sat up, tray sturdy and attached.
"I made you your favorite," he said, kissing her temple. She looked up at him with such a strong gaze that his body's rhythm realigned itself to fit hers automatically. When she expressed her love, it was often wordless, and it was often explicit, honest.
"Because I love you, and I wanted to."
The first time he did this for her, they hadn't started dating yet. She had stayed at his place the night before, two artistic minds melding their mediums into the early morning. It was exhilarating to bounce off each other's words they way they did. She walked into the kitchen to find him standing in his boxers, casual and easy as he put the batter into a waffle iron. She was so confused as to his motivations and how he knew. 'You told me once.' She hugged him, trying to say as much as possible with her small body squeezing. Nobody had ever done something special like that for her just because.
"Yeah, my favorite gets to have her favorite." It was also in celebration, but he was still timing her on that, the numbers on his phone screen constantly increasing.
"You're my favorite," she said and took her first bite. She chewed and wiggle-danced with a smile on her face. He worried his heart would burst.
He set his own tray up and started to eat with her, continuing to observe her facial expressions and hand movements in his periphery. He wanted to see the second she realized.
"Do we both have easy days today?" Easy days meant that they didn't need to do any work that required for them to get dressed properly and leave the house. For her specifically, easy days meant finalizing products and sending them off, responding to emails, and still interacting with him for most of it.
"We can spend the whole day together, babe." She gave him her widest, eye-crinkly smile.
"Let's watch a bunch of dinosaur movies," she said, and he agreed, focused on the hand currently holding a glass of orange juice.
"Awesome. You can invite the guys if you're feeling social. I feel really good today," she said in reference to his best friends. Sometimes she lacked the energy for any socializing beyond simply existing in the same apartment as him. Some days she was the light that everybody couldn't help but be warmed by.
"Let's make it a lazy day- just us," he said. He could tell that made her feel even better, as if his words made a thinly-veiled compliment.
"It's just us then, Lovely." She leaned over to kiss the corner of his mouth. He felt like goo.
"...I'm so thankful for you right now. I always feel like my wiring is different and incompatible with others, but you've helped me connect so much. It's one of the reasons I love you, and then you go and do something like this," she confessed. His heart's thrumming never stopped, but it eased in her presence. He knew his heart was safely placed with her.
"I guess it's payment for helping me better understand who I am. I'm so comfortable with myself, and you had so much to do with it."
"I love you Aiden." He felt like his skin would peel off going crazy for her to just notice because even though they talked about this he just didn't know for sure. The amount of time and energy he had put into just the design of the thing made the stakes higher.
"I love you, Brooke." They shared a tender kiss, and as she placed her hand on his cheek, he felt the stone on her ring brush against his skin. She paused and pulled back. He saw her as she looked at her hand, and he saw the timer reach six minutes, eighteen seconds.
"Aiden?" There was no other emotion than wary in her voice and the fluttering and sinking of his heart drained him instantaneously.
"You're the best at listening."
"You've told me."
"This is a much better engagement story than you getting on one knee in a fancy restaurant."
"Well I… I know you don't like having to answer verbal questions." She gently moved their trays further down the bed, making no noise, but he was getting his breath back, happiness replacing all amounts of ice in his blood vessels, sparking everywhere and dancing around his image of her. She threw her arms around him and nuzzled her nose into the side of his neck.
"…I'm gonna marry you so hard."
A/N: For the record, this is how I would want to get engaged. I'm aware that it might not be the dream-like romantic story that is often shown in the movies, but there's something fun and amusing about it.
Let me know what you think!